With a government shutdown almost a day away, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced an act his office says will ensure that essential federal services continue to function in the absence of a spending bill.
The act goes beyond certain provisions pertaining to a possible shutdown, however, and instructs the U.S. Treasury to pay the U.S. debt in full, forbids any funds to be spent on President Barack Obama’s health care reform bill and says no federal money can be spent on abortion services.
If you’re scratching your head over how reproductive rights was injected into this debate, well…you’re not the only one.
The act has a number of other provisions.
From Sen. Paul’s office:
- The Treasury is directed to fully pay the debt of the United States and all of its prior obligations in full.
- The Social Security Administration is directed to send out all checks for current retirees, and accept all new applications for benefits.
- Medicare and Medicaid are directed to fund all current obligations and accept new enrollees under current provisions of law.
- Emergency war funding is continued at current levels. The Department of Defense is instructed to operate at 90 percent of previous year’s expenditures, and is authorized to send out paychecks to all military personnel at the full level of pay. Civilian employees based in the United States will be paid at the same 75 percent rate of other federal employees.
- Agencies of the federal government are directed to report for business as normal. Since Congress has never failed to give back pay to federal workers, there is no reason for a furlough. Federal workers shall be paid when an agreement is reached, for the time worked under these provisions, at 75 percent of their salaries.
- Congress and the White House may only operate at 50 percent of its previously appropriated levels for the time worked under these provisions.
- Congressmen, Senators, and the President do not receive a salary during the emergency, and are not eligible for back pay when the emergency is vacated.
- All other non-personnel accounts for all other agencies that would be covered under a yearly appropriations bill are directed to operate at two-thirds of previously approved funding levels. Their budgets must be reduced by the amount saved during the emergency.
- The Executive Branch is directed to provide no funding for any program created by Obamacare.
- The Executive Branch is directed to expend no federal funds to provide abortion services, or to agencies who provide abortion services.
- This bill will be in effect until a continuing resolution or full appropriations bill are passed and signed into law.
Last year, Paul called a shutdown “government by chaos”, but he has been relatively quiet about the issue over the past week. It’s arguable no person represents the Tea Party movement and its sentiments better than Paul, but political observers are wondering if his (faux) presidential bid is having an influence.
In January, the Bowling Green ophthalmologist introduced a budget pla that made $500 billion in cuts, which is no where near the current GOP proposal.